Criminal cases against candidates: No party fare well in Maha

New Delhi: All political parties are of the same hue -- some a shade deeper, some lighter -- when it comes to pending criminal cases against their candidates.

A quick analysis of 880 candidates of major political parties contesting the assembly polls in Maharashtra's Mumbai and Vidarbha regions shows that 276 of them, accounting for 31 per cent, fall in this category.

Carried out by NGO National Election Watch, the survey also found out that the state polls will have a large number of crorepatis in the fray, with Mumbai and Thane alone accounting for a total of 122 such candidates.

Shiv Sena tops the list of candidates having criminal cases pending against them, with 42 of its total 62 candidates in Mumbai and Vidarbha regions falling in this category.

It is being closely followed by BJP with 31 of the 48 candidates coming in this category. While the Shiv Sena's percentage is 67.74, that of the BJP is 64.58.

MNS is in the third position with 42 of its 67 candidates falling in this category -- 62.69 per cent. Among the 39 candidates of NCP, 16 have criminal cases pending against them, accounting for 41.03 per cent.

Twenty-three of the 73 candidates in Congress have such cases against them and 23 of the 108 BSP candidates do have similar cases, the survey said.

The survey for Mumbai and Thane by Maharashtra Election Watch, the state wing of NEW, said that Independent candidate Bhavesh Bhinde, contesting from Mulund constituency in north-east Mumbai, has the highest number of criminal cases (23) registered against him.

Don-turned-politician and Akhil Bharatiya Sena (ABS) chief Arun Gawli, contesting from Byculla constituency, has just nine cases.

Among the 122 candidates in Mumbai-Thane who have declared that they have assets worth more than a crore, the BJP candidates account for 80 per cent.

"The figures are based on data of 470 of the total 705 candidates contesting the state assembly elections from 36 constituencies in Mumbai and 24 seats in Thane," MEW activist Ajit Ranade said.

Among the crorepatis, Samajwadi Party leader Abu Asim Azmi top the chart with declared total assets of Rs 126.8 crore. BJP's Poonam Vejdalla Rao (Ghatkopar West constituency) has assets worth 23.3 crore, while Congress candidate from Kandivali East constituency Ramesh Singh Thakur has assets worth 22.2 crore.

The total net worth of these crorepatis is Rs 849 crore -- giving an average wealth of Rs 1.80 crore per crorepati candidate, according to the data for Mumbai-Thane.

As far as academic background is concerned, only 23 candidates have completed their post-graduation. While 99 candidates are graduates, 127 have cleared their matriculation examination. The rest have education below standard X, according to the MEW.

Bureau Report